To buy chocolate, your options aren’t limited. You can visit the gas station on the corner, order a bag of it off Amazon, take a trip to the local grocery store, drive to that one bakery downtown, steal a piece from the first 20-something female you come across, buy a case of it off some fancy website… blah, blah-blah, blah-blaaah. Your choices are basically endless.

You might think that I’m here to tell you where to go buy chocolate. But you’d be wrong. In fact, you should already know the answer to that question… because… well, chocolate is life. The real point, however, is to bring to light how many possible places you can go to buy one thing.

Now imagine if you’re that local bakery. If someone chose to go to your bakery instead of the gas station on the corner or the grocery store down the street, it would mean a lot to you. And if you’re a sane business person, then you’d probably want that to continue happening.

For that to continue happening, however, many things would have to be thrown into the mix. You’d need a healthy mixture of customer service, good prices, quality products, accessibility, and so on and so forth. One major element that can easily transform a one-time customer into a lifetime customer is appreciation.

You show your clients or customers a little appreciation, and you’ll get a lot back in return. That client might forever be yours or they might redirect a lot of new business in your direction. Both of which are good things for any business.

But the thing about client appreciation is that most business professionals tend to think it costs a lot of money or requires more effort than it’s worth. However, this is far from the truth. Client appreciation can be simple, inexpensive, and completely worth the effort. Here are a few quick and easy ideas to get you started.

A local favorite

Is there a local coffee shop or bakery that people in your city have pledged their undying loyalty to? If so, grab a few packs of coffee or a couple dozen cookies for a client you haven’t spoken to in a while. Drop it off at their office and let the receptionist know you were thinking about them. This act is small to you but will look enormous to your client. And who knows? They might share it on social media and send a few prospects your way.

A handwritten card

You don’t need a holiday to come around for an excuse to send a client a card. In fact, once or twice a year, pick up a pack of thank you cards and write a nice (and genuine) note to a handful of clients. Stick it in the mail, and wipe your hands of the deed.

A random discount

A discount is a discount is a discount. However, you can always use discounts to your advantage. If you have repeat clients or a client who always treats your staff with respect and kindness, then go ahead and give them a discount… a just because discount. Even something as small as 10% off can go a long way.

A social media mention

If you have a lot of followers on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlet, then another quick and easy way to appreciate your clients is through a social media mention. It’s not a card, but it is something that a whole gaggle of people can see. So, while it may not be authentic and traditional like a thank you card, you do have the potential to get a lot of bang for your buck. A buck that just so happens to be entirely free.

A little education

What you know others may not. For instance, as an IT company, you probably know a great deal about cyber security, productivity, and automation. A dental office or insurance company probably does not. Use this as an affordable and unique way to appreciate your clients.

You can accomplish this in a variety of ways. For example, you can send out a short email informing clients of a prevalent threat and provide them with quick tips on how to avoid it. Or, you can schedule a 30-minute training session with a company at their office and go a little bit more in-depth. Not only can you use this as a way to show your clients appreciation, but it can provide you with an invaluable opportunity to build and strengthen relationships.